The present invention relates to an electronic media disc assembly, and more specifically to an electronic media disc having a data storage region and an encoded region for point of purchase activation of the disc.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Conventional media devices having information stored thereon are known and used in retail settings. For example, conventional gift cards are commonly sold in retail stores. The gift cards are generally wallet-sized cards with the retailer's logo on a face of the card. These gift cards contain a magnetic stripe which stores information for use of the card, such as the purchasing value of the card or locations where the card(s) may be used. The gift cards are usually purchased for a predetermined amount or may have a specific value added to the card. Conventionally, such gift cards do not have an integral means of enabling a purchaser to connect to the internet to use the gift card on a website associated with the source of the gift card.
Other conventional devices allow a consumer to purchase access to the internet using the disc. However, these devices have a number of components which have a high cost of manufacturing of the device. For example, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2002/0157974, discloses a main panel having a compact disc and a separate wallet-sized point of sale card attached to the panel. The CD is affixed to the main panel by shrinkwrap, adhesive, plastic insert, or other metal retainer. The point of sale card is affixed to the main panel by adhesive or shrinkwrap. The device, therefore, has greater manufacturing costs than a device containing point of sale information and other stored information on the same card because the cost of two separate components and the associated materials, such as the adhesive or shrinkwrap, is reduced.
Other conventional devices are capable of storing annular optical data and personal data on the same device, however, these devices do not provide point of sale activation of an account associated with the disc. The devices further do not contain computer readable instructions for enabling a purchaser to access the internet with the device. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,484,940, issued to Dilday et al., discloses a card having optical and magnetic data storage regions for use in consumer transactions. The card is designed for use in an ATM or other conventional magnetic swipe reading device. The optical data region allows much greater storage of user and account information than a card with only a magnetic stripe, and thus could contain much more information than a standard ATM or credit card with a magnetic stripe. However, the device does not enable point of sale activation of an account associated with the device. Also, the device does not enable the user to access to the internet with the device for a predetermined or selected duration of time.
Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide a single electronic media disc assembly comprising a data storage region and an encoded region which allows for point of purchase activation of an account associated with the disc, and which preferably enables the user to access a global computer network using the disc via an internet service provider.
In view of the deficiencies described above, it is an object of the present invention to provide a single electronic media disc assembly comprising a data storage region and an encoded region which allows for point of purchase activation of an account associated with the disc, and which preferably enables the user to access a global computer network using the disc via an internet service provider.
The present invention is an electronic media disc assembly. The disc has a top surface and a bottom surface. There is a data storage region disposed on the bottom surface and an encoded region on the top surface. The encoded region preferably stores simple account information, like a username and password, for enabling a point of sale activation of an account associated with the disc. In an alternate embodiment, the account may be activated by the user on a peripheral device of a computing system. The encoded region is preferably a magnetic strip, and is optionally a bar code or other suitable encoding means. The encoded region may be affixed to the bottom surface via an adhesive, a hot stamp, or the encoded region is optionally a component of an over-laminate on a multi-layer laminate.
Preferably, the data storage region is an annular optical storage region, but may be of any other suitable form of data storage which can store a large quantity of data.
Annular optical discs work by spinning the disc rapidly around a stationary assembly. Data is subsequently read through a beam of focused light off of concentric or spiral tracks embedded in the disc. The electronic media disc preferably has an aperture to engage the disc to a rotatable drive mechanism of a conventional optical data reader. The disc is typically a standard CD or DVD.
In one embodiment, the encoded region comprises identification information associated with the account such as a username or password. The identification information is preferably used at the point of sale to activate an account for the purchaser.
By activating the account, the purchaser can access the internet by using the disc and the account via an internet service provider. The duration of the access may be predetermined or is for a duration selected by the user at the time of purchase.
In another embodiment, the disc comprises computer-readable instructions to direct a user to an on-line catalogue. The user preferably purchases the disc and an account having a predetermined or selectable amount of credit toward purchase of a service or product. The account is preferably activated at the point of sale. Once at the user's on-line catalogue, the purchaser is able to select and purchase merchandise or services from the on-line catalogue internet site using the account associated with said disc. The catalogue can be a means of any form of sellable items, including products, services, software, music, or movie downloads.
In another embodiment, the disc has a catalogue stored thereon. The user preferably purchases the disc and an account having a predetermined amount of credit. The account is also preferably activated at the point of sale. The purchaser is able to select merchandise from the catalogue. The disc also has computer readable instructions for enabling communication of any selections and the account associated with the disc via the internet to a seller or provider of the selection via an internet service provider.
The disc has a top surface and a bottom surface. There is a data storage region disposed on the bottom surface and an encoded region on the top surface. Preferably, a magnetic stripe is either parallel to a flat bottom edge of the disc or is parallel to such an edge after tearing or breaking off a removable portion. This allows easy swiping of the disc through a standard magnetic stripe reading device. In one embodiment, the disc is substantially rounded but has a flat bottom edge and the encoded region is oriented substantially parallel to the bottom edge. This configuration allows for easy sliding and reading of the disc through a magnetic stripe reader. The disc optionally has a display hole for holding said disc on a display.
In yet another embodiment, the disc has two flat edges oriented substantially parallel to one another and also a flat bottom edge. There is an optional angled portion connecting each of said flat sides to the flat bottom portion. The encoded region is substantially parallel to the bottom edge.
In yet another embodiment, the disc has a flat bottom edge and the encoded region is oriented substantially parallel to the bottom edge. The embodiment also has a removable carrier adjoined to the bottom edge which has a display hole for holding the disc on a display. The removable portion is capable of being snapped or ripped off at the point of purchase.
In yet another embodiment, the disc assembly has a carrier that contains the encoded region. The encoded region is preferably a magnetic stripe. The disc is perforated or scored in such a manner that the carrier containing the magnetic stripe can be removed by tearing or snapping with ease at the point of sale.
In a further series of embodiments, the embodiments previously disclosed may be affixed to a carrier. The carrier may be cardstock, cardboard or ay other suitable material capable of holding a disc thereto. In one embodiment, a disc having a magnetic stripe parallel to the bottom edge of the disc is affixed to the carrier. The carrier has a scored edge along a length of the carrier such that a portion of the carrier can easily be folded back to enable the magnetic stripe to be swiped through a magnetic stripe reader, such as at a checkout counter, without obstruction.
In another embodiment, the disc having a magnetic stripe is affixed to the carrier such that the magnetic stripe extends beyond the bottom edge of the carrier. In this embodiment, the device may be readily swiped through a magnetic reader without obstruction of the carrier.
In another embodiment, the carrier has the magnetic stripe disposed on a surface of the carrier substrate which is perpendicular to the side walls of the carrier. A portion containing the magnetic stripe is adapted to be removed by tearing or breaking at the point of sale. Optionally, the carrier has a display hole for holding the device on a display rack.
A method for manufacturing the device of the present invention by providing the various components and steps described in detail below is also disclosed.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the following drawings.